If you grew up in Eastern North Carolina and in your 40s or older and not a Carolina Panthers fan, you’re probably a Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys fan.
In the pre-Panthers era, the Redskins were the team shown on television each week on WNCT-9. And as “American’s Team,” the Cowboys were also on our TVs nearly every week.
There are still four regular season NFL games remaining, but it already appears as if these three teams could have very similar offseasons.
Each of them could be looking for new coaches.
Washington fired its coach five games into Jay Gruden’s sixth season after he failed to produce a win. Gruden went 35-49-1 in his time in D.C. His teams finished above .500 on just two occasions (9-7 in 2015, 8-7-1 in 2016) and lost its lone playoff game.
Bill Callahan was named the interim coach and has led the team to a 3-4 mark in seven games.
The Redskins are currently tied with the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons for the third-worst record in the league at 3-9.
The Panthers abruptly fired Ron Rivera on Tuesday.
He produced an up-and-down performance in his nine seasons as the Panthers coach. They finished below .500 in five of those years, going 6-10 in 2011, 7-9 in 2012, 7-8-1 in 2014, 6-10 in 2016 and 7-9 last season.
They could finish above .500 this year at 5-7.
But when he was good, he was really good.
Carolina went 15-1 in 2015 and lost in the Super Bowl, went 12-4 in 2013 and lost in the divisional round to the San Francisco 49ers and went 11-5 in 2017 with a loss to the New Orleans Saints in the wild card game.
Rivera went 76-53-1 in the regular season and 3-4 in the postseason.
Jason Garrett is also coaching for his job in his ninth full season in Dallas – he went 5-3 as the interim coach in 2010.
Coming into this year he had put up just three winning seasons and a total of two playoff wins.
The Cowboys are currently in contention to win the dreadful NFC East Division at 6-6 but they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record this year.
Garrett has an 83-65 record in the regular season and a 2-3 mark in the postseason.
Two of the teams are also looking at making changes in management.
Washington president Bruce Allen and Carolina GM Marty Hurney are being evaluated.
Owner Jerry Jones is the de facto general manager for Dallas so his job is safe.
By the way, Washington, Dallas and the Detroit Lions are the only NFC teams to not appear in the conference championship game in the past 21 years.
Washington is also going to finish the 2010s as one of the NFL’s worst teams. Coming into this season, only the Cleveland Browns (36-107-1, .253 winning percentage), Jacksonville Jaguars (45-99, .313), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (52-92, .361) and Oakland Raiders (56-88, .389) have less wins than the Redskins (59-84-1, .413) since 2010.
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